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3.5 out of 5 stars29
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on 21 January 2010
There are a number of problems with this, largely caused by Wall's delusion. In common with most Kerrang journalists of the day he convinced himself that he was friends with the bands that they wrote about. Against this background he is clearly very put out that Axl "fell out" with him and the book is essentially a long whine about this lost, unrequited friendship. There are numerous, very basic factual errors that prove he couldn't be bothered to do his basic research properly (Slash came from London, did he? Nikki Sixx's autobiography is "The Dirt", is it? That's funny, when I read it, I thought it was a book about the whole of Motley Crue and isn't written by Sixx, at all). The book itself tells the interesting tale of GnR's rise and fall, largely through already published material, which is a shame. Throughout Wall constantly drops in bits like "Steven told me" and "while talking to Duff", forgetting to mention that it was during interviews. They're not your chums, which is why you didn't have enough access to generate any new material for this book, Mick. The fact that he's so excited about having boiled eggs with Axl's brother speaks for itself. All of that said it's an interesting story, somewhat spoiled as a result of being lazily put together by a journalist who over-estimates his own part in the tale.
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If you do not know anything about GN'R and Axl Rose this is a book that will give you some insight. However, if you are a GN'R fan and have read the original interviews back in the 80s/90s (Rolling Stone, etc) this is a deja-vu. What this journalist did was to literally cut and paste some bits and pieces of the most famous published interviews and paste them in this "book". There are also bits literally taken from articles/posts that you can easily find for free on the internet. I am not convinced the author is unbiased as he was involved in a dispute about an interview that he had allegedly did with Axl himself for Kerrang! (check out the lyrics of Get In The Ring! to get more insight).

This is NOT a biography, but just a collage of previously released info. The first chapter made me cringe: the author starts by talking about what it means being born under the sign of Aquarius (I thought it was a joke, do we get the horoscope as well?!). Axl Rose was no angel, his upbringing was not the best (biological father that disappeared when he was only 2, the mother that got pregnant at 16 and remarried with a priest who sexually abused Axl and his siblings). The background (which was disclosed by Axl himself in an interview with Rolling Stone back in the days) contributed to the make-up of this artist, in addition to severe problems of manic-depression. Violent, mysoginist, abusive, controlling - with his tantrums, lateness at the shown, paranoia and dictator behaviour he contributed to the band's self-destruction. At the same time one of the best singers and showmen of all times (back in the days).

The author could have added some insight as Chinese Democracy was due to be released close to the publication date of this book (delaying it just by a few months would have not made any difference at all) and he could have added some info about the record. That would have meant writing something new and not copying bits and pieces written by someone else! -BTW Chinese Democracy is not rubbish at all, OK it is not Appetite but Appetite is a masterpiece, very hard to reach those levels for anyone.

If you want to read new material with regards to GN'R check out Duff and Slash's autobiographies. They are not masterpieces, but at least they are not a rip off like this book. They also show that Duff and Slash took charge of their lives and took responsibility for their actions. Axl is still fighting his demons. It is sad to see the "new" version of GN'R in action - I bumped into some videos on YouTube and I literally had to press the stop button as it was sad to see how this individual is in denial: overweight, face traits changed by plastic surgery, mostly out of tune and the band that does not have anything of GN'R. Better to create a new band and move on.

Shameful this book got published.
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on 31 December 2010
There are some fair points made by other reviewers in regards to the second hand stories that Mick has woven throughout the majority of this book, however what you do get is a great insight into a number of bands, and the whole music scene in and around LA between the mid 1980's and early 1990's. This is after all an `unauthorised biography', and therefore there is enough room for the odd things to be a little sketchy.

I agree that a lot of the flippant comments are meant to sound like Mick hung out with these guys all of the time, and not that they were well planned answers in many scheduled interviews. That said, Mick did live in LA and was living and breathing the LA scene. I found the book fascinating as it pulled together facts, stories, rumours and allegations that I had already read about in, `The Dirt - by Motley Crue (Neil Strauss)', `Tommyland by Tommy Lee (Anthony Bozza)', `Slash by Slash (Anthony Bozza)', `The Heroine Diaries by Nikki Sixx', and `Don't Try This At Home by Dave Navarro (Neil Strauss)'. Hearing similar stories from different people's point of view is hugely entertaining (like both sides of the Vince Neil & Axl Rose feud).

The disappointing side was that the details of Axl Rose's life from the late 1990's to 1997 (a time period rarely documented anywhere) is still very sparse predominantly built around the band's erratic live reviews. I remember a great interview back in 1998 with one of the (many) drummers that quit, citing the reason as frustration over having to play over 100 hundred instrumentals before Axl would bother to write any lyrics. However there was no mention of this (presumably because it was in Kerrang! At a time when Mick had left; or that the interview was not done with himself.). Then the book comes to an abrupt ending before `The Chinese Democracy' has been released. I was expecting album review quotes, and sales figures, fan reactions etc, however we never get this far. Presumably this will be added in a re-release in years to come, but this is why the book didn't get the whole five stars.

Mick Wall is a great journalist, and his writing is interesting and amusing. This book gives an insight to everyone's view on Axl without hardly speaking to the man himself. This is about as close as we will ever come to getting a biography, so for that reason alone this is worth getting. Great stuff.
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on 17 January 2015
I got the 2007 hardback version of this book.

Turgid and misleading. This is a biography about Guns n' Roses not Axl Rose.

Did I get insights into Axl's character and motivations? Marginally. Was it a good read? Mildly diverting. Well researched? In parts, but many inaccuracies. Gets facts about Slash's upbringing wrong and says Axl crowned Izzy 'King of Beers'. Okay, that might not sound like much - a beer error - but if you like popular culture it is worth knowing that it was after Duff McKagan that Duff Beer was named in The Simpsons, one of the most culturally significant series of recent times.

Mick Wall is far too fond of his own voice, banging on about his involvement with the band. He was a journalist interviewing them. He was doing his job.

Compare this book to J Randy Taraborrelli's Michael Jackson: The Magic and The Madness. The latter had me on the edge of my seat, was thoroughly researched and made me go out and buy the music. Wall's book will be shelved and used mostly for its bibliography.
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on 13 February 2009
After reading a Slash Biography (which was very good by the way and made me appreciate Slash even more) and because of the riduculous wait on the new 'Guns' album, I had turned into an anti Axl attitude, or at least a pro Old Guns/Slash Duff fan.
Because of this book (which I bought similtanously with the Chinese Democracy album), I have come back a bit more in the middle and at least understand more about Axl but with a greater sense of loss re the best rock band of the last century. Great detail and background without the nastiness some biographies show.
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on 26 June 2014
A very poor book of material recycled from other sources. Simply no new material, a complete waste of time reading this. Wall just wants to bash Axl. If Wall cannot gain any fresh sources as material then why bother with this piece of drivel that I have clearly read through magazines and Internet. Avoid.
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on 28 July 2007
The first half was really interesting as Mick Wall had access to the band and more importantly AXL, resulting in an insiders story to what was going on within the band up to mid/late 1990. Then when Axl fell out with him the second half of the book seemed to be Mick Wall on a mission to slag off anything Guns N Roses and more specifically Axl did from then on.

He seemed to only have one thing in mind and that was slagging off Axl and never attempted to provide a balanced story, the second half of the book was also full of inaccuracies, one example of which was when he talked about their 1991 Rio shows and how the crowd wasn't into new songs such as November Rain (It wasn't played).

I'd recommend reading the first half of the book but from then on I wouldn't bother, I went to the Leeds 2002 show and 2 shows on the 2006 tour and thought they were amazing but Mick Wall made these out to be bland, boring and dull affairs... far from what I remember about it!
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on 18 March 2013
Was a Birthday gift for my son who has been a fan of Axl Rose for many years, he said it was good to read about him.
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on 1 August 2007
Being a big Guns N' Roses fan, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book in my local bookshop. I knew Mick Wall's history with the band and had enjoyed some of the articles he had written for 'Classic Rock' magazine. Unfortunately, this book doesn't seem to be saying anything that isn't already out there. From summaries of interviews from Kerrang!, Rolling Stone, RIP etc. to stage quotes from live shows that can be found on youtube, this book could have been written by anyone. There also seems to be a lot of presumptions about how Axl felt about certain things. Obviously, not many people wanted to be interviewed for this book and it really shows. For nit-pickers like myself, there are a bunch of basic factual inaccuracies e.g. Slane Castle is in Co. Meath, Ireland NOT Co. Dublin. Wikipedia could tell you that...

I'm still waiting on the definitive Guns N Roses book....
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on 26 May 2016
Bought as a gift, the recipient said it's what you'd expect from an unauthorized biography.
Nothing really to add to the already available material published on Axl Rose - mainly focuses on GnR as a band, not Rose.
Wall is (was?) a Kerrang! journalist so its written in the same style and reads as very bias. The only information on Rose featured within this book is available through interviews from the man himself.
If you'd like a no-holds-barred look into life within GnR, I highly recommend Slash's biography - it may not be a literary masterpiece but at least it's written by someone who was actually there throughout everything.
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